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The Music Man (1962 film)

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Comedy, Musical, Romance




Adapted from
United States

The Music Man (1962 film) movie poster

Release date
June 19, 1962

Based on
The Music Man by Meredith Willson

Meredith Willson (based on: "The Music Man"), Franklin Lacey (written in collaboration with), Marion Hargrove (screenplay)

Academy Award for Best Original Music Score

Main Title / Rock Island / Iowa Stubborn

(Prof. Harold Hill), (Marian Paroo), (Marcellus Washburn), (Winthrop Paroo), (Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn), (Mayor George Shinn)

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The story of that man and his 76 trombones, and the wonderful, wonderful tune he played on every heart in town!

The music man official trailer 1962

The Music Man is a 1962 American musical film starring Robert Preston as Harold Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo. The film is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Meredith Willson. The film was one of the biggest hits of the year and highly acclaimed critically.


The Music Man (1962 film) movie scenes

76 trombones full scene the music man 1962


The Music Man (1962 film) movie scenes

In July 1912, a traveling salesman, "Professor" Harold Hill (Robert Preston), arrives in River City, Iowa, intrigued by the challenge of swindling the famously stubborn natives of Iowa ("Iowa Stubborn"). Masquerading as a traveling band instructor, Hill plans to con the citizens of River City into paying him to create a boys' marching band, including instruments, uniforms, and music instruction books. Once he has collected the money and the instruments and uniforms have arrived, he will hop the next train out of town, leaving them without their money or a band.

The Music Man (1962 film) movie scenes

With help from his associate Marcellus Washburn (Buddy Hackett), Hill deliberately incites mass concern among the parents of River City that their young boys are being seduced into a world of sin and vice by the new pool table in town ("Ya Got Trouble"). He convinces them that a boys' marching band is the only way to keep the boys of the town out of trouble, and begins collecting their money ("76 Trombones"). Hill anticipates that Marian (Shirley Jones), the town's librarian and piano instructor, will attempt to discredit him, so he sets out to seduce her into silence. Also in opposition to Hill is the town's Mayor Shinn (Paul Ford), the owner of the billiard parlor where the new pool table has been installed, who orders the school board (portrayed by the barbershop quartet, The Buffalo Bills) to obtain Hill's credentials. When they attempt to do so, Hill avoids their questions by teaching them to sing as a barbershop quartet via "sustained talking." They are thereafter easily tricked by Hill into breaking into song whenever they ask for his credentials ("Sincere", "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little/Goodnight Ladies", and "Lida Rose").

The Music Man (1962 film) t3gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRdDohYxnZ5zmDSHc

Meanwhile, Hill attempts to woo Marian, who has an extreme distrust of men. His charms have little effect upon Marian ("Marian the Librarian") despite his winning the admiration of her mother ("Gary, Indiana") and his attempts to draw out her unhappy younger brother Winthrop (Ronny Howard). When Marian discovers in the Indiana State Journal of Education 1890–1910 that Hill's claim to being a graduate of "Gary Conservatory, Gold Medal, Class of '05" is a lie (Gary was founded in 1906), she attempts to present the evidence to Mayor Shinn and expose Hill as a fraud, but is momentarily interrupted by the arrival of the Wells Fargo wagon ("Wells Fargo Wagon"). When Winthrop, after years of moody withdrawal, joins in with the townspeople and speaks effusively with Marian due to the excitement at receiving his cornet, Marian begins to fall in love with Hill and subsequently hides the evidence she has uncovered from Mayor Shinn. Hill tells the boys to learn to play via the "Think System," in which they simply have to think of a tune over and over and will know how to play it without ever touching their instruments.

The Music Man (1962 film) Enchanted Serenity of Period Films The Music Man 1962

Meanwhile, Marian is falling more in love with Harold, and in a counterpart with The Buffalo Bills they sing "Lida Rose/Will I Ever Tell You". Hill's con is nearly complete; all he has to do is collect the rest of the instrument and uniform money, and he can disappear. During his meeting with Marian at the footbridge, the first time she has ever been there with a man, he learns that she knew of his deception but didn't tell because she is in love with him ("Till There Was You"). He is about to leave town when Charlie Cowell, a disgruntled anvil salesman who had been run out of Brighton, Illinois because Hill had conned the townspeople there, comes to River City and exposes Hill. Sought by an angry mob and pressed to leave town by Marcellus and Marian, Hill realizes that he is in love with Marian and can't leave River City ("Till There Was You (Reprise)"). He is captured by the mob and brought before a town meeting to be tarred and feathered. Marian defends Hill, and the townspeople, reminded of how he has brought so many of them together by his presence there, elect not to have him tarred and feathered. Mayor Shinn in response reminds the townspeople of how much money Hill has taken from them to form a band, with no apparent result. When he loudly demands to know "Where's the band?" Hill is saved by the town's boys, who have learned to play Beethoven's Minuet in G on their instruments. Although their technical expertise leaves much to be desired, the boys' parents are enthralled. As the boys in the band march out of the town hall, they are suddenly "transformed" into a spectacular marching band dressed in resplendent uniforms, and playing and marching with perfection, led by Hill. ("76 Trombones 2nd Reprise").


The Music Man (1962 film) The Music Man 1962 film Wikipedia

Many members of the original Broadway cast appear in the film, including Robert Preston, Pert Kelton, and The Buffalo Bills.

The film made Robert Preston into an "A" list star in motion pictures, after years of appearing in supporting roles in famous films and in starring roles in "B" movies.

The Music Man (1962 film) Meredith Willson Robert Preston Shirley Jones The Music Man

Although Preston scored a great success in the original stage version of the show, he was not first choice for the film version, partly because he was not a box office star. Jack L. Warner, who was notorious for wanting to film stage musicals with stars other than the ones who played the roles onstage, wanted Frank Sinatra for the role of Professor Harold Hill, but Meredith Willson insisted upon Preston. Warner also "begged" Cary Grant to play Hill, but Grant declined, saying "nobody could do that role as well as Bob Preston".


The Music Man (1962 film) The Making of The Music Man 1962 Silver Scenes A Blog for

Warner Bros. Records issued the soundtrack album in both stereophonic and monaural versions.

The Music Man (1962 film) The Music Man Bluray


In addition, during recording of the soundtrack musical numbers in late 1961 and early 1962 to which the cast would later lip-sync on the soundstage, some sessions included work for The Chicken Fat Song, a.k.a. President Kennedy's Youth Fitness Song


The film received positive reviews and grossed $14,953,846 at the box office, earning $8 million in US theatrical rentals. It was the 5th highest-grossing film of 1962.

Bosley Crowther in The New York Times wrote "It's here, and the rich, ripe roundness of it, the lush amalgam of the many elements of successful American show business that Mr. Willson brought together on the stage, has been preserved and appropriately made rounder and richer through the magnitude of film."

The Staff Variety reviewer wrote: "Call this a triumph, perhaps a classic, of corn, smalltown nostalgia and American love of a parade....DaCosta’s use of several of the original Broadway cast players is thoroughly vindicated...But the only choice for the title role, Robert Preston, is the big proof of showmanship in the casting. Warners might have secured bigger screen names but it is impossible to imagine any of them matching Preston’s authority, backed by 883 stage performances."

Leo Charney reviewing for AllMovie wrote that the film "is among the best movie musicals, transforming Meredith Willson's Broadway hit into an energetic slice of Americana. Robert Preston's virtuoso portrayal of con man Harold Hill transfers from the stage (despite the studios' nervousness about casting no-name Preston), and the result is one of the most explosively vital performances in any movie musical."

In 2005, The Music Man was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
  • "Seventy-Six Trombones" – Nominated
  • 2006: AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – Nominated
  • Academy Awards

    The film won one Academy Award and was nominated for five more.


  • Best Musical Score (adaptation or treatment) – Ray Heindorf
  • Nominations

  • Best PictureMorton DaCosta
  • Best Costume Design (color) – Dorothy Jeakins
  • Best Art Direction (Color) – Art Direction: Paul Groesse; Set Decoration: George James Hopkins
  • Best Film Editing – William H. Ziegler
  • Best Sound Recording – George Groves
  • Comic book adaption

  • Dell Movie Classic: The Music Man (January 1963)
  • References

    The Music Man (1962 film) Wikipedia
    The Music Man (1962 film) IMDb The Music Man (1962 film)

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